Lok Ayukta Act to get more teeth

June 13, 2014 10:38 am | Updated November 16, 2021 06:53 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told the Assembly on Thursday that the government will consider amending the Lok Ayukta Act to give more power to the Ayuktas.

It was also thinking of appointing a State Vigilance Commission on the lines of the Central Vigilance Commission.

The Minister was replying to a debate on the Kerala Public Service Commission (Additional Functions as Respects the Lok Ayukta) Bill which seeks to bring appointments to the Lok Ayukta within the purview of the PSC.

Mr. Chennithala said the government had appointed a committee headed by retired High Court judge K.P. Balachandran to report on changes needed to the Lok Ayukta Act and the committee had submitted its report. The committee’s recommendations as well as provisions of the Central Lokpal Act would be considered while amending the State Act.

Power to register cases

The committee had recommended that the Lok Ayukta should have powers to register cases suo motu. If sanction for prosecution recommended by the Ayukta to the government was delayed by more than 90 days, it should be deemed as sanctioned, he said.

The committee had also recommended that officials found guilty of corruption by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau or Lok Ayukta should be asked to vacate their office.

The laws should be amended to facilitate immediate disciplinary action. Besides, it proposed that the self-financing colleges should be brought under the purview of the Ayukta.

The Minister said once the State Vigilance Commission was established, top appointments would require its clearance.

He said the PSC had agreed to annual recruitment of police personnel sought by his department. There were vacancies in the Police and Jail Departments and the Fire and Rescue Services. The PSC was not able to make timely ‘advices’ for want of sufficient infrastructure, Mr. Chennithala said.

After the Minister’s reply, the House referred the Bill to the Subject Committee. The Bill proposes that all staff appointments by direct recruitment to the Lok Ayukta shall be made in consultation with the PSC.

During the debate on the Bill, ruling Front members demanded that more powers be given to the Ayuktas. Loopholes in the Act should be plugged, they said.

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